By Rita Hart
Special to the Herald
The 2013 session of the Iowa legislature gaveled in last week.
It was an honor to sign my name in the official register as the new senator for the people of Clinton County and northern Scott County.
I’m looking forward to a great year devoted to initiatives that will benefit Iowa families and businesses. Building a lasting recovery from the national recession means strengthening and expanding the middle class.
How can we do it?
n By improving Iowa schools through professional development for teachers and administrators, increasing student achievement and supporting innovation.
n By expanding access to affordable health care — including mental health care — so that we reduce the chance that illness could bankrupt a family.
n By helping create jobs through tax cuts for small and Main Street businesses.
n By cutting taxes for hard-working Iowa families.
n By expanding job-training opportunities so that workers get the skills they need to fill local openings.
With a divided legislature, accomplishing these goals will require working together across party lines. Democrats lead the Iowa Senate and Republicans control the House. The bills we pass must also be approved by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.
This year, Iowa has a wonderful opportunity to move forward because our fiscal house is in order. Unlike many other states, we have money in the bank to invest in honoring our commitments to Iowa schoolchildren, expanding access to affordable health care, ensuring job creation in every corner of the state, increasing public safety and improving mental health services for Iowans who need them.
These are a few of my top priorities for 2013. I welcome your ideas and suggestions.
Senator Rita Hart represents Clinton County and northern Scott County in the Iowa Senate.